March seeks options to gun violence »Albuquerque Journal
Bringing about long-term changes.
That is expected to draw a flurry of activists and protesters to the Old Town Plaza on Saturday morning.
March for Our Lives, a school safety rally that begins at 10 a.m., takes participants on a roughly 1.5-mile march to Tiguex Park.
Gun violence, school psychiatric services and discussions about legal regulations are on the agenda of the march, which attracted the interest of more than 1,000 people on Facebook and a list of around 25 speakers. The list, which is mostly made up of students, also includes Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller.
“The children and families of March For Our Lives will take to the streets to demand that their lives and safety be a priority and that we end gun violence and mass shootings in schools,” the event description reads.
Main organizers Blair Dixon, 19, and Jonathon Alonzo, 15, said the non-partisan rally was not just about guns.
“We as students want to be safe. To us, however, school security doesn’t look like metal detectors, zero tolerance policies, armed teachers, or schools that look like prisons. We do not want schoolchildren to be criminalized, as young people of color are most affected by over-police in schools, “the organizers wrote about the event on social media.
The youth told the journal that they wanted to stimulate discussion about how social economy and institutionalized racism play a role in the broader debate on gun control.
“Gun violence looks like suicide and street violence to color school students,” Alonzo said.
Organizers said the March for Our Lives was planned with a youth team that met several times a week for three weeks prior to the demonstration and raised about $ 16,000 through grants and fundraisers.
According to the organizers, twenty “peacekeepers” for traffic and crowd control have volunteered for the event, along with security on site.
After Saturday’s march, the group is also planning a campaign for the next 60-day legislature in New Mexico and is calling for an emergency meeting this year.
“We plan to send a letter to the governor calling for a legislative session to address gun laws in New Mexico,” said Dixon.
Albuquerque’s event is part of hundreds of March events for Our Lives scheduled to take place across the country on Saturday.
The marches were planned after 17 deaths in Parkland, Florida in a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last month. Marjory Stoneman Douglas students are expected to attend the March for Our Lives in Washington, DC, where the main march will take place.
Some local faces will also be among the crowd in Washington.
Eight students and two staff members from Albuquerque’s Digital Arts and Technology Academy, a charter school, will be marching in DC after raising $ 10,000 for the trip.
19-year-old local photographer Riley Russill raised more than $ 700 to go to the US capital to observe and document the march. It’s the first time Russill has photographed a national event.
March for Our Lives attendees across the country are diverse: men and women, children and parents, students and teachers, and Democrats and Republicans.
But the message is consistent: something has to change.